The Added Value of Agile and Project Management Certifications
By Rami Kaibni
Over the years, I've heard so many different opinions and read so many articles about what people think of certifications. Some do not see any added value while others believe otherwise.Let us think about getting certified from an Agile Mindset:Agile Team: The candidate is the Customer (Product Owner), Scrum Master & Development Team all in one.Value Maximizing: The market is getting more competitive, new technologies are emerging and will soon be dominant over traditional methods so the candidate has to inspect what value can they add to their experience / knowledge to cope with all those changes and competitiveness and then adapt accordingly.Release Planning / GoalPlan & Prioritize your Backlog (Define User Stories like Taking a Course, Complete Application, Apply & Book for the exam)Set the release goal: “As a Project Management Professional, I want to Obtain X-Certification in order to gain more knowledge in Y-Industry”Estimate the time & cost. Iteration Planning / Goal: Decompose the User Stories into tasks (If necessary) and set a goal for each iteration. For example, for the first iteration: Iteration Goal: Complete a Course within 2 weeks.Iteration Tasks: Find a Course, Register & Pay, Take Course.While doing different iterations, you inspect and adapt to ensure you are on the right path by frequently reviewing your progress, checking if any improvement is needed for your study approach or plan and so on until you reach your last iteration:Iteration Goal: Pass the TestIteration Tasks: Register & Pay, Find a date, Sit for the test.Going through this whole process of inspection and adaptation frequently will help professionals assess four important How’s:How competitive is the market? How familiar are they with all emerging technologies? How can they improve?How will this improvement add value to their career ?Certifications are not about adding letters after your name but it is about knowledge and personal/ professional development. So if you have the experience and knowledge, what is stopping you from getting certified. Certifications will:Add to your knowledge in many ways.Pave the way for your for a more distinguished career path.Make you stand out in competitive & tight job markets.Validate your Experience.Help you speak a common language among professionals of the same field.Project Management is one of the most competitive jobs worldwide so do not aim at reaching the top and stop because what is more important than reaching the top is staying there.In light of the above, I would like to share how different certifications/designations added value to my Professional Development & Career: (Inspection & Adaption over the years)Project Management Professional (PMP)No matter how many years of experience we have, there is always more to learn so getting my PMP helped me get in-depth knowledge of all project management processes, tool and techniques in addition to opening my eyes on how to better manage some critical Knowledge Areas / Processes, especially Effective & Efficient Communication & Stakeholder Engagement.Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)After several years working in the Project Management field and performing different levels of Risk Analysis on almost every project, you will be surprised to hear that getting this certification opened my eyes to so many aspects of the Risk Management and made me realize that there are certain things I can do in a different and better way.Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP)Having more than 10 Years of experience in Estimating, Scheduling & Planning, going through the SP Journey did reinforce this knowledge & experience with a certification from a highly reputable organization like PMI.Green Project Manager (GPM-b)Many countries are adopting green and sustainability initiatives to protect the environment and the world as a whole. Being in the Real Estate Development Industry, I worked for many years on some sustainability initiatives on many projects. Getting the GPM-b reinforced my knowledge about sustainability and how to apply it in Project Management which enhanced my approach on how to incorporate those initiatives into our projects.Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt (LSSYB)Being in the Construction Industry, going Lean in many cases when possible could be the right and only right thing to do. The LSSYB Journey enhanced my knowledge about Lean and how to apply it to different parts of any project or even in the office.Professional Scrum Master (PSM I & II), Scaled Professional Scrum (SPS)Although I do have experience in those areas and they might not be highly applicable to construction projects but going through this journey enhanced my knowledge and experience in how Inspection, Adaption and Delivering Incrementally helps reduce waste or errors and keep your product up to date and competitive within the market. Besides other areas when I use Scrum, I actually started applying the Scrum on some parts of our Real Estate Development projects to tell how well it would work and/or add value - You will be surprised, but the results were amazing. I might share this experience in details on another post or article.Professional Agile Leadership (PAL-I)This certification did open my eyes to some fact about building agile teams and how to empower them in addition to validating my experience in this domain.At the moment, I am pursuing the Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) since I am being involved in Agile on so many levels and having more than 4 Years of experience, so I trust it will enhance and boost my knowledge in terms of how to apply agile concepts in projects and/or hybrid models (Agile – Traditional Models).In conclusion, the added value of knowledge combined with my background in Structural Engineering and experience helped shape my career path in a great way boosted my career advancement because as you can see, all of the certifications that I pursued are very much related to my field of expertise and line of business.
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